Workshop aims to boost NSF graduate research fellowships

Researcher in lab

The UO is offering a three-session workshop designed to help graduate students raise their chances of receiving prestigious graduate research fellowships awarded each year by the National Science Foundation.

It’s part of an effort to raise the number of UO students who successfully apply for the grants. The National Science Foundation awards more than 2,000 graduate research fellowships each year, and UO professor of psychology Elliot Berkman would like to see more of the awards going to UO students.

“If we want to be a premier research university, this is something that we need to do,” Berkman said. “There are other universities where everyone who is eligible applies, but that hasn’t been the case here yet. We’re trying to change that.”

Berkman, who directs the UO’s Center for Translational Neuroscience, is co-leading the workshop, which is open to all UO graduate students who are eligible to apply for NSF graduate research fellowships. Recipients of the prestigious award receive a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 as well as a $12,000 allowance for tuition and fees.

“This is a fantastic program,” Berkman said. “The NSF wants to develop the next generation of research scientists and they spend quite a bit of money doing it. It’s a great way to gain experience writing grants and even if you don’t receive the award, just going through the exercise will help you down the road.”

Graduate students in the UO sessions will learn about grantsmanship, hear from past recipients and zero in on which proposals are most likely to succeed. They will participate in an in-depth writing workshop in which their work is critiqued by peers and facilitators.

The sessions culminate with students submitting their proposals to the NSF in time for the October deadline. Along with Berkman, facilitators include UO psychology professor Jennifer Pfeifer and psychology graduate student Lauren Kahn, a recent NSF graduate research fellowship recipient, as well as several other UO NSF graduate research fellows from departments across campus.

Last year’s list of new NSF graduate research fellows from the UO included:

  • Krista DeStasio, psychology
  • Danielle Hamann, chemistry
  • Sarah Horn, psychology
  • Cameron Johnson, physics
  • Jonathan Saunders, neuroscience
  • Reyn Yoshioka, marine biology

Workshop sessions are scheduled for Monday, Sept. 25; Monday, Oct. 2; and Monday, Oct. 16. For more details, see the handout posted by the Center for Translational Neuroscience. Registration for the workshop is required. Students may register before Thursday, Sept. 7 at